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Catching Up with the Local Thirty Challenge

What's the Local Thirty? It's a challenge of sorts (more of a learning experience, really) to spend thirty days eating from within 200 miles of your home. This means diving deep, and looking into the ingredients in packaged goods, and also trying out new foods and recipes. It's also meant to get you to ask the questions and meet the makers and growers you shop from each week. The market team has decided to join the project, and we want to invite you to do so as well!


  • What: Eating food made within Michigan. Living in a peninsula, that just makes more sense for us. While we enjoy the idea of getting deep in the details of ingredients and sourcing, we also recognize that most of our producers are not using 100% local ingredients. For example, flours and other grains are not plentiful in Michigan. Oils and spices can also be hard to find here. ie) We wouldn't be able to buy bread from any of our market bakers, or beer from all those Kalamazoo brewers. Instead, we'll highlight a few producers throughout the month that are buying from some local farms and businesses. 
  • Cheats: Life is short and most of us are fueled by coffee. We'll each be picking out ten cheats that we feel we can't live without.
  • When: Thirty Days throughout September. It's peak season and the market tables are bursting with all the good stuff!
  • Why: To get connected with our community and local food systems.
  • Who: Everyone! The market team will be giving you updates each week this month. All four of us have a slightly different diet, and each week will feature someone new. We'll tell you about our diets, what we bought this week, how much it cost, a new recipe, and something we learned. The team includes Gaby Gerken (your basic omnivore), Megan Kucks (keto), Grace McElhone (vegan), and Cid Abel (paleo). 

Megan Kucks - Keto
"For the duration of the Local Thirty challenge, I will be participating under the ketogenic diet plan. This follows a high-fat and low-carbohydrate regimen. Many of the meals will revolve around local meats, veggies, and dairy products."
Read more about Megan's experience here.

Grace McElhone - Vegan
"I have been vegan for a little over two years. This fall marks the beginning of my third year studying at Western Michigan University. I hope that my experience with the local thirty challenge will help other college students incorporate more local food into their diets."
Read more about Grace's experience here.

Cid Abel- Paleo
“It is an abundant time of year in Michigan and going to the farmers market and shopping at PFC more often to keep my food fresh really opened me to having a better relationship with food and the people in my community. I found that so much of the food I was buying before was taking my money out of my community, and let me tell you there is nothing like seeing the same person multiple times a week and handing them cash for something they care for all season and hand raised just for me to eat.”
Read more about Cid’s experience here.

Gaby Gerken - Omnivore
“When not at the market, you’ll find me cooking up something seasonal in my kitchen. When I’m feeling broke I’ll aim for more of a cheaper vegetarian diet, but for the most part I’m just your basic omnivore aiming for a local meal, no clementines in site.”
Read more about Gaby’s experience here.

Want to join & win? Share what you're making and what you've learned on social media. Post your photos and use the hashtags #localthirtykzoo #localthirty and #kalamazoofarmersmarket, and at the end of the month we'll pick two random winners who will get a prize from the Markets and PFC Natural Grocery and Deli.